Restaurant Apologizes for Turning Away Armed Officers: 'We Made a Mistake'

A San Francisco restaurant has apologized after three police officers were recently denied service because staff felt uncomfortable they were armed.

The officers were turned away from Hilda and Jesse on Union Street, in the city's North Beach neighborhood, on Friday.

Restaurant bosses initially defended the decision to ask the officers to leave, but have since issued an apology amid growing backlash.

"We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant," owners Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton said in a statement posted to Instagram on Sunday.

"We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times. We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD. These are stressful times, and we handled this badly."

It comes after the restaurant's Yelp page was inundated with negative reviews, leaving it with just one star.

A note on its page read: "While we don't take a stand one way or the other when it comes to this incident, we've temporarily disabled the posting of content to this page as we work to investigate the content you see here reflects actual consumer experiences rather than the recent events."

Meanwhile, San Francisco Police Officers Association accused the restaurant of discriminating against officers.

"Three foot beat officers looking to eat where they patrol were treated without any tact of class by this establishment, fortunately there are plenty of restaurants that don't discriminate and will welcome our officers working to try and keep all San Franciscans safe," the union told ABC7. The union has been contacted for comment.

Earlier in the weekend, Hilda and Jesse had defended the decision to turn the officers away, saying the only issue was that their weapons.

In an Instagram post, the restaurant explained: "On Friday, Dec. 3, three armed and uniformed San Francisco police officers came in to dine at Hilda and Jesse.

"Shortly after seating them, our staff felt uncomfortable with the presence of their multiple weapons. We then politely asked them to leave."

Sillcocks clarified in interviews that the decision was not due to anti-police sentiment, but because the officers were armed.

"We were uncomfortable, and we asked them to leave," Sillcocks told ABC7. "It has nothing to do that they were officers. It has everything to do that they were carrying guns."

The restaurant and the SFPD has been contacted for additional comment.

San Francisco police officers patrol Chinatown
San Francisco police officers patrol Chinatown on March 17, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images/Justin Sullivan